Department of Engineering and Design

Application Procedure

How to apply

To apply for postgraduate courses within Engineering and Design please use the University of Sussex online postgraduate application system.

Application types

There are three types of application:

  • Scholarship for a funded research project  - These are studentships associated with a specific research project that is funded, for example by a Research Council. The topic of the research will be determined by the nature of the project. Such studentships are typically advertised on and on specialist email lists in the area of research, in addition to the School and University webpages. Check in the advert if there is a separate application form required in addition to your online application.
  • School Postgraduate Research Scholarship - These are advertised on the department's funding page and the University Funding Database. The applicant may choose a topic specfic project or propose their own research proposal as you would in a Standard Application. Note: in the funding section of your online application that you wish to be considered for this Scholarship, there may be further requirements on the advert.
  • Standard application - These are applications from students who have an interest in a particular area or specific topic. Finding a potential supervisor and writing a research proposal are key parts of the application process.
  • Industrial Doctoral project - These are projects funded by commercial organisations to conduct research on a specific technical problem of direct interest to the organisation.  They will be advertised on the School and University web pages and and on specialist email lists in the area of research. Read more about the Industrial Doctorate.
Potential Supervisor

You may try to identify a potential supervisor as part of the application process. Please browse the personal web pages of members of faculty for information about their research, and the web pages of the research group to which they belong. It is a good idea to read some of the publications of potential supervisors to see whether their research captures your interest and whether your topic may be relevant to them. Once you have researched our faculty you are welcome to contact potential supervisors to discuss your research topic by sending them your proposal. A potential supervisor may provide advice on how to improve the proposal. There is a space on the University application form to identify a potential supervisor with whom you have discussed your application.

If you are not sure to whom to send your proposal, you may send it to the Director of Doctoral Studies who can advise you. Alternatively, you may simply submit a full application as we have a procedure to direct your proposal to suitable potential supervisors to view your proposal.

Research Proposal 

A research proposal for doctoral study is typically 2-6 pages long. Writing a research proposal serves several purposes: it will help you develop your ideas of what you wish to study (and how), it provides us with the information needed to match you with potential supervisors, it is an indicator of your ability for doctoral study and it helps us plan what research training you will require. Hence, you should write the proposal with the following aims in mind:

  • To explain your interest in the particular area and topic you wish to study.
  • To specify the specific research questions that you wish to investigate.
  • To demonstrate that you have some knowledge of the topic, by referring to research literature that you have read(use a standard citation/reference scheme).
  • To indicate what methods and techniques you think can be used to investigate the questions, and say whether you can already apply them or wish to develop skills in them.
  • To explain your motivation for wishing to undertake doctoral studies; and to outline your career aspirations.

Once a potential supervisor has been identified, she or he may work with your to further refine your proposal.

The University application form requires a ‘personal statement’. For the School of Engineering and Informatics the personal statement in research degree applications should be your research proposal.